Do We Love Dogma More Than People?

Think about this:

When I’m sick, and you bring me a meal, I don’t care whether you’re a Calvinist or Arminian.

When I’m poor, and you give me some food and money, I don’t care if you’re pre-millennial or post-millennial.

When I’m in the hospital, and you send me a get-well basket, I don’t care what your church denomination is. Continue reading “Do We Love Dogma More Than People?”

Stephen Mattson – Seven Lies About Christianity

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Here are some lies about Christianity that many Christians tend to believe, according to the author:

You’re Always Happy

Your Problems Will Disappear

You’ll Be “Blessed” Continue reading “Stephen Mattson – Seven Lies About Christianity”

Catherine Woodiwiss – In the Image of God: Sex, Power, and ‘Masculine Christianity’

The Sojourners have published a very insightful article by Catherine Woodiwiss, on a very up-to-date topic: sexual violence in religious contexts.

Here the first part of this text:

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Most of us are too familiar with this story: an Upper Midwestern Baptist minister claims that “God made Christianity to have a masculine feel [and] ordained for the church a masculine ministry.” Or a Reformed Christian pastor mocks the appointment of the first female head of the Episcopal Church, comparing her to a “fluffy baby bunny rabbit.” Or a Southern Baptist megachurch pastor in California says physical abuse by one’s spouse is not a reason for divorce. Or numerous young evangelical ministers brag about their hot wives in tight leather pants.

Fewer of us are familiar with this story: Tamar is raped by her half-brother Amnon. Tamar protests her brother’s advances, citing the social code of Israel, his reputation, and her shame, to no avail. Their brother Absalom commands her to keep quiet, and their father, the great King David, turns a blind eye.

What do these contemporary statements above, delivered into cultural megaphones with conviction and certainty, have to do with the Old Testament rape and silencing of Tamar? The difficult answer is, quite a lot. The narrative dominance of these stories rests on power and control, which — whether intentional or not — speaks volumes about whom the church serves and what the church values. Continue reading “Catherine Woodiwiss – In the Image of God: Sex, Power, and ‘Masculine Christianity’”

Lisa S. Harper – Our Dark Night

They say at some point in their lives great leaders experience a “dark night of the soul,” or a period in life when your feet, knees, and face scrape and stick to the proverbial bottom. It is a time when even your soul feels forsaken. Ultimately, the dark night is not about the suffering that is inflicted from outside oneself, even though that could trigger it. It is about the existential suffering rooted from within. St. John of the Cross, the 16th century Carmelite priest, described it as a confrontation, or a healing and process of purification of what lies within on the journey toward union with God.

“Whenever you face trials of any kind,” explains the apostle James, “consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Continue reading “Lisa S. Harper – Our Dark Night”

John Stott – The Conservative Radical

Rev. Stott served as a contributing editor for Sojourners magazine, when it was known as The Post American, and wrote this article for the November/December, 1973 issue of the magazine.

It seems to be a characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon mind to enjoy inhabiting the “polar regions” of truth. If we could straddle both poles simultaneously, we would exhibit a healthy balance. Instead, we tend to “polarize.” We push some of our brothers to one pole, while keeping the other as our own preserve.

What I am thinking of now is not so much questions of theology as questions of temperament, and in particular the tension between the “conservative” and the “radical.”

By “conservative” we are referring to people who want to conserve or preserve the past, and who therefore are resistant to change.

By “radical” we are referring to people who are in rebellion against what is inherited from the past and who are therefore agitating for change. Continue reading “John Stott – The Conservative Radical”

The Peace & Civility Pledge – A possible Suggestion for Romanian Evangelicals

The atmosphere in the Evangelical community in Romania is really tense, following the public ‘execution’ of Rev Josef Ton, for the simple reason that he declared he became a ‘charismatic Baptist’. Following this, the level of un-civility in the  virtual environment went to a historic low. Something needs t be done to bring public discourse at a minimal level of decency.

As you are well aware, this is nt the only place where such things happen. Even the ‘civilised’ America has witnessed, – with the rise of the ‘tea party movement’ – whose followers claim to be, in a large majority, conservative Christians – a degradation of public manners on the political scene, which culminated with the recent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others around her. Reacting to this, Sejourners, the journal of Evangelicals for Social Justice, led by Rev Jim Wallis, took the initiatiave of suggesting a Peace & Civility Pledge. I present it here below, because I would like to suggest that such a pledge, if takes seriously, could save us from the mess we have presently in the Evangelical community in Romania. Continue reading “The Peace & Civility Pledge – A possible Suggestion for Romanian Evangelicals”

Jim Wallis – Principles for Financial Fesponsibility

Jim Wallis, leader of Evangelicals for Social Action,  suggests in a recent article in Sojourners three principles for financial responsibility, in the context of the present world economic crisis. And, although he has in mind especially the United States, these principles are universal and apply across the board in all cultures.

As the present bankruptcy of Greece proves, only the application of such rigurous rules could prevent a new, more serious crisis. Here are his suggestions: Continue reading “Jim Wallis – Principles for Financial Fesponsibility”